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Five presidents

Five presidents

Nov. 4, 1991: One president and four former presidents attend the dedication ceremony for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. From left: President George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon.

This Page 1 photo by staff photographer Annie Cusack accompanied this Page 1 story in the Nov. 5, 1991, Los Angeles Times:


SIMI VALLEY — It was the ultimate photo opportunity.

For the first time in history, five U.S. presidents–several of whom had waged bitter campaigns against each other over the years–were gathered in one place.

Warmed by a California sun and clearly aware they were basking in the light of history, they appeared jovial and fraternal, as political rhetoric melted into buttery praise for each other.

Even the lone Democrat, Jimmy Carter–who had failed to join Presidents George Bush, Ronald Reagan and Gerald R. Ford at last year’s opening of the Richard M. Nixon Library in Yorba Linda–on this day seemed more a colleague than a political opponent.

“At least, all of you have met a Democratic President,” Carter joked when it was his turn to take the lectern. “I’ve never had that honor yet.”

Carter flew in from Zambia for the occasion; Bush arrived after peace talks in Madrid and a visit to his battered summer home in Maine. Despite the lengths the presidents and their wives went to to be here, public access to the men was tightly controlled.

Giant spotlights were set up even under the blazing sun to maximize the photo opportunities (and minimize under-eye shadows).

Photos were taken of the five First Ladies–along with Lady Bird Johnson. Another was of the five men standing in front of the bucolic courtyard in the Reagan Presidential Library on an isolated hilltop near Simi Valley. …


Nov. 4, 1991: From left: Barbara Bush,  Nancy Reagan, Rosalyn Carter, Betty Ford, Pat Nixon and Lady Bird Johnson. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times.

The top photo was added to the photo gallery: The president’s in town.

The full story quoted above:  Gathering of 5 Presidents Is First in History is online.

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1 Comment

  1. November 6, 2015, 9:01 pm

    Good evening … I have a photo of the five presidents and their wives with lady bird Johnson wondering if this photo has any value…. My email is… Thank you


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